We are here today because I talk about skin oils and herbal potions until people want to kick me in the face. (I’m only assuming; I have yet to be kicked in the face. But if I were, I’d make a comfrey salve for the wound.) I love trying new skin goops, read ingredients labels for fun, and am venturing into holistic and ayurvedic tradition for health and wellness tips. I am excited to share my research and experiences! Today, the unsavory topic of blemishes.
A few weeks ago, I was back in Washington, DC, visiting some friends, but mostly, taking the Bar Exam, that lawyery thing that lawyers do. There is nothing quite like pre-Bar stress. It ruins lives.
After traveling back home to Colorado, I had a pretty rough week; this only about a week after having taken the Bar. I was anxious and unable to sleep for more than a few hours several nights in a row. I even neglected my skincare routine! [Insert Dramatic Chipmunk meme]. I also ate more pizzas than I’ll ever admit. A couple of days later, as these things take time to manifest, my skin broke out, with (warning: graphic) some large “mother” pimples with accompanying, rashy constellations, and blotchiness.
Obviously, the best thing to do is de-stress, eat healthy, sleep, etc., etc. But sometimes that just is not going to happen. Below are some things that work for me when my week is just crap, and there’s nothing to be done about it.
Simplify your routine!
Put down the serums and exfoliants and cleansers; your basic go-to when your skin is angry should be water and a gentle moisturizer, in addition to some of the other tips below and maybe a gentle cream cleanser that works for you. A good moisturizer would be something basic, like coconut oil (see below), or Egyptian Magic or a sensitive skin cream like Pai Rosehip Chamomile Cream or CV Skinlabs. Make sure to test these sorts of things when your skin is calm; you don’t want to be trying new products when your skin is inflamed.
Drink lots and lots of water, especially coconut water
I have noticed that my skin is extra clear and glow-y after I’ve been drinking lots of coconut water, and I’ve read that this works for other people as well.
Apple Cider Vinegar
MAGICAL FAIRY POTION UNICORN PEE! This stuff is awesome for your skin regardless of whether you’re breaking out, but it works miracles on pimples. And pretty much anything else that ails you. Heartbreak? Runny nose? Hemorrhoid? (No but seriously that last one.) To use this all over your face as a toner, make sure to dilute it with some other liquid like filtered water or green tea. Don’t use this every day because your face will start to smell like feet. Been there, done that. For stubborn pimples, I use this straight on a cotton pad and hold it over the pimple for as long as possible. You will notice a difference right away. So satisfying.
Be careful with this one, because some people do break out from coconut oil. However, in Ayurveda, coconut oil has been used for treating acne, and I find that it works well for me. I use it as a moisturizer in the morning or a mask at night when I’m breaking out. (And sometimes I get crazy and use it even when I’m not breaking out. Get wild. So wild.) For the mask, I use a hot wash cloth over my face with the oil on. This is great prep for the next step…
This is the tried-and-true all-natural solution to acne, but again, this is just generally an awesome skin care item. It’s great for all skin types, full of nice minerals, and tightens and brings fresh blood to your skin (in a good way). It also dries up pimples and draws gunk out of your pores. Evan Healy praises it as the natural exfoliating alternative to chemical peels. My favorite clay mask are from Dr. Hauschka and Evan Healy. A more affordable option is clay in bulk from Rose Mountain Herbs (or Amazon or like, The Internet).
Tea Tree Oil
This is another hyped-up natural solution that actually works. My method to this madness is straight-up applied to the pimple with a cotton swab (but do a patch test before using this on your face undiluted). A lot of people, myself included, have good luck with this as a serum that you can put all over your face. Put a few drops of the tea tree oil in an ounce of a carrier oil like rosehip or jojoba. Sometimes I also make a salve with Egyptian Magic and tea tree oil.
This mineral is the stuff they make ointments out of for babies’ butts. Alternatively, it’s also widely available in the organic sunscreen section of your health food store. Zinc has been used topically to treat rashes, acne, and psoriasis, and for me, it does a great job taking care of blemishes. I use zinc-based sunscreen every morning, and if I’m breaking out, I’ll put a little extra on that area and apply a good layer at night before bed too. My favorites are from Badger. Taking a multivitamin with zinc or regularly eating some zinc-rich seafood is also a good idea if you have chronic acne.
If you can find time, have a bath.
I know I certainly didn’t have time, but I think a bath is the most relaxation bang for your buck. It may also be a good way to wind up hell week if you haven’t got time during. So whip out the essential oils, Epsom salts, candles, and face masks, and have yourself a bath, even if you can only spare fifteen minutes.